France captain Charles Ollivon has dismissed suggestions Saracens’ impending Premiership relegation means it is favourable to start the Guinness Six Nations against England.
Premiership champions Sarries were last week punished following a breach of salary cap rules, with the seven members of Eddie Jones’ squad who play for the London club facing uncertain futures.
France host World Cup runners-up England on February 2 at Stade de France but Toulon flanker Ollivon, who was appointed skipper for the tournament, cannot see an obvious advantage in Saracens’ predicament.
“You have to remember that England is the second best team in the world, so I’m not sure whether it is the best time to play against them or not,” he said.
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“In any case, for us it will be our first game and we want to be able to perform.
“We want to be there and meet the expectations and get started with the championship.
“We have been preparing it since the end of the World Cup so we’re eager to get on with it.”
France head coach Fabien Galthie has named an inexperienced initial 42-man squad for the tournament, including 19 uncapped players.
“If Saracens change their mind about publishing that full report I’m very minded to review my decision about publishing."https://t.co/HRBMXy4uyu
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 22, 2020
The 50-year-old admits his selection was made with one eye on the 2023 World Cup, which his country will host.
“It’s a young team both in terms of age and caps,” Galthie said.
“We have a two-fold vision, we have a four-year vision and then we have a shorter-term vision with the England squad on February 2.
“It’s a squad that we’ll have to be able to quickly gear up to be able to perform and also to be able to raise the bar and the standards.”
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